Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Katherine Garlough


Data from the National Center for Education Statistics have indicated a steady growth of students attending 3 or more institutions while pursuing a baccalaureate degree. When students transfer institutions, they may have specific needs for their new institution. Informed by the transfer receptive culture framework, the purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the perceptions of students who had attended 3 or more postsecondary institutions on the services they received, before and after their transfer. Purposeful sampling yielded 9 adult students with multiple-institution attendance histories. Data were collected through semistructured instant messaging interviews. A series of messages included multiple questions and opportunities for detailed participant responses. The interview data were open coded and thematically analyzed using constant comparative methods. The results indicated that the students expected a streamlined transition process, yet most perceived the institution to have limited technical and human resources dedicated to transfer services. The resource shortage contributed to institutional barriers requiring students to expend their cultural, social, and transfer capital to complete the transfer. Recommendations for the local institution include electronic transcript delivery, automated transcript processing, transference of student data maintenance, and early degree-specific credit evaluations. The study contributes to positive social change by providing research findings to the local site on possible ways to improve services for transfer students.